Alex Pereira and his jaw-dropping knockout of Israel Adesanya at UFC 281 on Saturday night quickly pried the door back open for many of the middleweight division’s top contenders.
‘The Last Stylebender’ had practically cleared out every viable challenger at 185-pounds. With a new champion, fighters like Robert Whittaker have a new lease on life. During his appearance at the UFC 284 press conference, ‘The Reaper’ officially threw his name in the hat of men that would like to be the first to challenge Alex Pereira.
“As I said before, I’m not planning past Costa, but I can say that I think Pereira’s a better matchup for me than Israel,” Whittaker said. “Just because of the way he stands and the way he likes to push forward. The way he likes to fight I feel gives me a better edge, but in saying that, did you see the size of the fella? I’m like, why is nobody mentioning that? Dude’s just a giant. He’s an absolute giant. I’m just thinking, like, who let this guy in? But still, I think I can take him.”
— UFC (@ufc) November 16, 2022
Robert Whittaker Will First Need to Deal With Paulo Costa Before Getting a Shot at Alex Pereira
Before Robert Whittaker can step into the Octagon with the UFC’s newest champion, he’ll need to get past the promotion’s monster middleweight Paulo Costa. The two are scheduled to scrap at UFC 284 this February when the UFC heads to Perth, Australia. That same night, new lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will defend his title for the very first time against featherweight titleholder and No. 1. pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Alexander Volkanovski.
Going back to 2014, ‘The Reaper’ has gone on an impressive 13-2 run inside the Octagon with the only two losses coming against former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. With a new man atop the division, Whittaker and many others including Marvin Vettori are chomping at the bit to get another crack at UFC gold.
As of now, the UFC seems intent on an immediate rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya, but as we all know, anything can happen in MMA. Do you want to see a rematch of the UFC 281 main event or would you rather see the next man in line get their shot?